Sheathing - An Overview
Sheathing often doesn't get much attention when thoughts turn to a new home; it's simply not a very glamorous subject. That's too bad, because sheathing is one of the most important parts of any structure, whether it's a green building or not.
What is Sheathing and Why is it Important?
Asking the question 'What is sheathing?' is like asking 'Why do we build houses and live in them?' It's critical to the long-term strength and safety of a home. Sheathing is the home's skin to the frame's skeleton; it encloses the structure in an airtight barrier to keep us safe from the elements. Sheathing acts to strengthen a home's studs, rafters and joists by joining them together.
A home's sheathing protects a building from twisting in strong winds and earthquake events. Under normal situations, sheathing provides the base for a home's floors, siding, and roof.
Sheathing on most homes comes in the form of wood panels applied to a home's skeletal frame. Most wood sheathing panels are made to standards set by the APA (The Engineered Wood Association, formerly the American Plywood Association). These standards were created to ensure that every home's sheathing will stand up to a strict list of criteria for performance, strength, and safety.
Sheathing in a Green Home
Sheathing products used in the design and construction of an environmentally-sustainable green home must meet the APA standards, but must also be manufactured with materials that tread more lightly on the earth than traditional engineered wood products.
Traditional sheathing products are often made from wood or wood products that are not sourced ethically or sustainably, and usually contain glues and other toxic bonding materials that can contribute to poor air quality and health issues due to exposure.
The articles in this section will focus on the different types of sheathing, including wall, roof, and floor sheathing products, along with reviews and recommendations for products that meet our strict guidelines for sustainability and durability.
ZIP System Sheathing: Traditional roofing materials begin with plywood, the reliable 'workhorse' of the construction world. Plywood does its job very well, but it often isn't the greenest material available due to issues with deforestation.
Sheathing products by ZIP System are an alternative that may be worth considering for your green home.
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